By the Teeth of the Moon (The Great Wanka Battle)
The Great Wanka Battle
A poetic Adventure from the 16th Century
By Dennis L. Siluk
In English and Spanish [Español]
Copyright © Dennis L. Siluk
By the Teeth of the Moon
[The Great Wanka Battle]
A Brief look at the Wanka Warrior of the Mantaro Valley (Advance):
The Chavin culture is the oldest of the great Peruvian civilizations; it flourished between 1800 and 300 BC, approximately two millennia before the Inca Empire. The jaguar being a symbol to the culture; the Inca was perhaps the most cleaver and imperialistic of all the cultures that appeared in Peru, but the Wankas from Huancayo were perhaps the toughest of all the warriors that emerged in Peru’s history: located at 3’260 m (of altitude) in the fertile valley of Rio Mantaro.
The city of Huancayo (in a conventional tone, of this present day) is most famous for its Sunday markets, and two-2 km from Huancayo there is what is called Torre-Torre, red-colored geological formations due to erosion. In a new park of the city, Wanka statues of stone evoke the culture of the old Huanca civilization.
The Wanka warrior lived between 800 to 1400 AD (Huanca: or Wanka) Waaka Michiq (or: Huanca Quechua: original). I have traveled all over the Mantaro Valley, and it is beyond description, its beauty, and spectacular views (vistas) from the top of nearby mountains. Theretofore, it was natural (as time progressed) for the Wanka to deal with their differences by talking, not always warring between themselves, which they did a lot of; thus, I repeat, what usually followed was the talking (since they were all neighbors anyhow): talking meaning: “Kawagley”, or singing, dancing, drumming, as they do today.
The Wanka had a love for the earth (Quechua language, the word pacha is used to describe earth)) or allpa, which means ground or land; and Urqu Pacha, refers to the world of the dead.))
The Wanka Continued
One must remember in the world of the Wanka, or in particular, the Andean world, nothing is finite. Life and death is like water, a necessity, and part of creation. Pachayachachi (to live on this earth, was a part of their philosophy), one must accept the normal process of life and death, lest he be haunted his whole life with bewilderment.
WAR: I do not know of any specific word for War, in Quechua, or in the Wanka dictionary: the word: awqatinkuy, meaning to fight, is pretty close. Or wañuchina kushunchu, which means to cause death. Taking this to a more personal level: the word “warrior” in, Yupiaq; thus, a warrior is called: a warrior’s name that is, is anguyagta.
The Warrior used: bows, arrows, harpoons, and spears, slingshots, kayaks, and lived in villages. They had a community house to talk things out; and they often fought among themselves, as I had said earlier. They also played games, games of skill, things like that. There was perhaps a period of time when the Wanka tried psychologically—as well as a spiritually—in an approach in dealing with a way to do away with war. And again, I repeat, used dancing instead, as we see nowadays; thus, holding together the culture and language, its revitalization efforts, you could say.
Waging War: The focus of this story is not so much about how one wages war, or its ability to wage war, but rather on the ability to look at war, to reflect the individual and the peoples actions (there is always a conglomerate of some sort involved; and many sides to the pains that go along with war)—in this case, using tools as weapons to kill each other; and we will see that it is more than a battle cry heard across a river. As we see today in the Mantaro Valley of Peru, Harmony has replacement war.
It should be noted, the Wanka Warrior was a striking and impressive looking individual, with a fierce expression and glaring teeth when in battle.
The Wanka Today: The Wanka today are much like any other group of people in many ways, they have their problems such as: alcoholism, domestic violence and suicides at the community level and self-governance and educational rights—they seek, at the institutional, and political levels. There is no word for alcoholism in Quechua, no word for suicide, thus, it had to be invented for the 20th and 21st century (we can call it: hatun wasi or yatray wasi ((the learning house)).
Ancient Wanka Ceramic
[1 thru 4]
I was born in the Mantaro Valley
I came from an old Wanka stock—
Race whoses characteristics
Were inclined towards violence—war
We battled against one another…!
In the mountain country—I lived
A valley surround it, is where I spent
My boyhood, a physical contest!
It was all a breath of life to me…;
Restless of life, I became a warrior.
One must understand the risks,
The uncertainties as a warrior;
You must be utterly fearless, wild,
Primitive, and it was done, I was
I was all of this, aloof, strange…!
As a warrior, I could expect nothing,
Only fury, from my muscles, aching:
Grasp, raw skinned knuckles, aching;
Staring down my victims, doom,
My murderous blade, sharp at is point.
(I learned death in a thousand forms))
And due to this, I was partly dead.
In my life, at this time, I can but reply:
Continual violent action: imposes!...
Oversimplified, and now I die…!
I was captured once and left to die
My wife (but not then))I shall not name))
Fumbled vainly at my feet: I had been
Physically tortured, she held me upright
She cried, and prayed and cried…!
Worthless, yet she had pity for me
And now she waited vainly, hoping…
Wringing her hands, knowing I was well
No more a shield, thus, I was free to:
Fight again; whoever saw such a woman [?]
You will say perhaps, ´…it is impossible
For a man like you, to fall in love—“
She was indeed a blinding flame,
A deafening sound in my chest—
A sound I could never put to rest.
For a long time I was senseless, dead,
In my healing, longing in my sleep to love
Never really hoping to find it, yet:
Once found, she disrupted my life…
Yet, somehow, we became one.
I always thought I return to her
My little yellow flower of the mountain
“I shall return,” I decreed…! Freed
The vanquished bloodstains kill…
They do not play favors for anyone.
My mind as I came to her—
Her features sparkled and floated,
Around my eyes I can visualize
It now is all a transcendent vision
Yet strangely familiar as I walk…
As in any war, he found his eyes upon the dead, his eyes trying to close (the dead that laid now behind him bleakly and quietly, he tried to wipe out their memory, the battle; he remembered all the shapes they had…!
Stiffly in their cast mode, bold and cold, immortal faces, shrinking, he got away from them…!
He called it hopeless surrender; he would have to learn how to be uncold, for the world could not afford a warrior with true affection (sorrowful it would be in battle)) but he was coming home)).
In his journey back, he lost all account of time, dead feet walking, lost is at period, un- hurrying, he clinched his hands, a snarl on his face: one way or another, he was coming home to his wife.
Their faces—teeth showing, face bleached white, incapable of further movement, he made no sound, his breath hissed, as he recollected, wordless, he sank into a silence of profanity, yet he kept waling, walking, walking.
The Great Wanka Battle
By the Teeth of the Moon
Four-thousand warriors battled this night
Two-thousand Wanka warriors would die
Along the Mantaro Rio, in the Valley
And they had equal weapons and all
And many of the warriors were hidden
On both sides of the Rio were Wankas
I and the Wankainos (the ancient ones)
Kept up our incessant fires, and spirits
But with scant avail, for we all knew
Slowly the other village crept closer...
Closer and closer they crept for accuracy
To the edge of the Rio–spying they came
Hid in the ditches along the Rio, and trees
Held their positions, waiting, just waiting:
In short order—, hoping to wipe us out.
Suffering terrible, in the cold winds
It would have been madness to swim
Across the Rio at night, but we did
Suffering terrible from the cold winds
Slowly we crept closer to them…!
Thus, we crossed the Rio at night with
Only the teeth of the moon for light,
Arching down, now on the ground
Blue blades by our sides—determined
Bizarre figures, spears at our thighs.
Battle along the Rio
I heard a voice vaguely familiar:
“I slashed off his head—it rolled
Grinning down the hill to the mud—“;
Once on land we rushed the camp
In-between fires, dogs and cats…
Panting, blood stained, fierce faces
Led only–by the teeth of the moon—
Flamed eyes, fumbling in our haste,
“Back!” I heard someone say—
Instantly my ears heard a distant roar!
The shooting of porras snarled by—
Fire arrows singed burn my hair,
I was the last Wanka warrior to die
In this chaotic war; blindly we fought
Some bodies smoking burnt crisp…
I saw the remnants of my comrades
There was no escape; none! None at all.
We walked into a devouring path –
I and I alone, escaped to the Rio…
By the teeth, the teeth of the moon!
I raced through the water of blackness—
I suspected, I was confused, mumbling:
The erratic moon, bobbing above me
Then I reached my side of the Rio—
There was the spy in the hollow log…!
In the Midst of Battle
In the midst of the Wanka battle
Massed thick with Wanka bodies
We were all fighting like demons
The battle was a gasping deadlock
They could not thrust us back…
We slashed, heaped high their bodies
Then when we were exhausted, they
Came in full force—hand to hand
Men stumbling among the dead—
Flesh and blood with a thunderous roar!...
Wanka warriors—we were everyplace
Everyone madden to a frenzy (hidden)
They—our enemy Wanka brothers,
They were hidden in trees, logs, ditches
Desperate melee, we gave way!..
The battle streamed out, throughout
The camp, and down to the Rio,
Trampling feet, shouts—with blue steal
Hand to hand, came the vengeance:
All foes in the same valley and Rio...!
Death (in the Midst of Agony)
On we died like locust, so thick in battle
So broad we could not spread our arms,
And once we tried, wide, broken wings
(With broken arms and knees, we fought)
Thus, being repaid—we died in agony.
Red, red blood was the repayment—
I could not pity them, or they us…:
We were all dazed by the battle sight
Some cowering in terror, and me, me—
I was in the painful midst of Agony!...
Hacking and slashing—warriors!
I avoided chance blows—somehow;
I slash and gashed, a path to the Rio
I swam swiftly through the currents
My bronze limbs against the water-walls
Now cross the Rio, glaring in on me—
I found a path, where the wind blew…
The dome of the moon –shattered
In the semi-darkness: my bronze limbs
Crushed, with pain and the rain…!
I heard from distant Wanka iron hands,
Pounding lungs, their feet in triumph—
The say, “We conquered the fools,” yet
They, like us, are from the Valley—
And some day they will be conquered too.
Of this past cataclysmic frenzy
That took place awhile ago—
The death of howling humans,
Brought me memory crushing walls
A ghastly roaring through it all…!
You think before a battle, and during:
Your body can blast through it all;
How many fell that day, do not know
But I was the only one to escape—
Over the rivers, over the river’s flow.
What I expected to find or gain in war
Is different than what I found—
Like blind and brainless monsters
We fount—a blinding white flame
Enveloped in a frantic oblivion.
(You my say perhaps it was all in vain,
My only reply is that I was part of it;
Senseless as it is, was, and will be—:
Again, afterwards, one becomes vested
In delirium, paralyzed with…!
By Lantern of the Moon
(After the Battle)
As I walked towards my home—,
Trees loomed out of the darkness
Thinning branches—with a hushed
Vague sky—dog barking ahead:
Guided only b y the lantern of the moon.
I struggled now up side of the sierra
The old creek bottom, behind me now
My mind in a fine obliviousness—
At last I saw, from far away…
A shadow standing in the darkness…!
I felt a sad, gloomy, faintly chill
My wounds—my whole body dying
Dying among the living sierra trees
The dog heard me, barked again,
His shadow trying to listen, to listen!!
Her voice, humming, ebbing my way
My path—like a falling echo…
Motionless, like a broken branch
The dog barked again, nearer…:
My wife stared off into the darkness.
I died, and went into a silence
I died, and the silence rippled
It was neither night—nor day
I wanted to follow the path
You know the one to my house!
But I was dead—among the trees
The house seemed to loom before me
(a different dimension perhaps)
Then I found myself beside her—
I whispered her name—stirringly!
Her lips were cold, or where they mine?
She tasted fatality, doom—didn’t know
Her head bowed between her breasts;
I was now above her: she was so brave.
(And I died, and she went to bed.)
And I thought then, about the times
She and I, held each other—
And we would lay in the meadows,
And quietly in the darkness—she’d
Make me warm, and she was soft.
(But this doom, I could not escape.)
Spring and Decay
There were no intimate things in her room, empty—the entire room still—a chill of desolation, spring had come, in a bright blue sky, she saw flowers lying on the ground, as if forgotten…
—she walked further into the wooded area, there—withered and dead laid her husband. Crumbled in his fingers, flowers, she touched his hand, they had left a stain, and he smelled: reeked with decay—!
Soberly and a little sorrowful, in the chill of the morning air, she paused, fretfully, brooding, alarmed, her fear and bewilderment had come true: trying to remember what little they had done together.
The gist of it was plain enough, she had never understood him or war, but she did today, it meant—detachment. It all implied—one must put it behind them, to stay alive, to survive, yet shocked and curious—she didn’t appreciate it.
She asked herself— “What are the words to this?” there was nothing to do [perform, carry out] save, hope for a new husband, yet that brought back distaste, and dread; she had to trust to a stranger (she put this aside for the time being).
—Part Nine (conclusion) Interlude
The Ghost of Weeping
(Grieving) She stood sluggishly by her fireplace, her hands cold to the bones—she stood before it, then turned towards the window, there she could see the drooping threes, her heart leaped a little “You fool,” she said; his shadowy shape came leaping unto the open sill of the window—, “You idiot,” she said; the shadow seemed to stare at her, with a wild repose.
Her wet face, lighted up “Don’t,” she cried, and then she tasted her own tears—she clung to the window, the shadow showed saber intensity “Have I gone crazy?” she asked herself.
She had been hoping he would have come home, I mean, come home for good, she had waited—so she said aloud, ”… longer than a thousand fires—“ and perhaps had she not found his body, she would have waited longer. “No,” she answered, “wishful thinking!” That is what it was. “What?” she said; a voice said, “…you’ll find someone soon…” she stared quietly (it was if the voice was annoyed).
Her chin now in her palms, looking into the fire, “You don’t want to!” She said “Surely for what it’s got to be.” She added, “Whatever you think, it is because it is what you want to believe.”
She picked up a cup, drank its contents sat back, her face rosy in the firelight. She closed the window, “People smell bad because of the things they do;” she said, “living corruption, flags the flesh, all soiled.” She felt clean to the bone—then the fire went out.
She murmured “He gave half of himself to me, and the other half, perhaps the better half, he swapped for war—that part, I could never find, until now.
#1450 9-6-2006 (First parts written the first last week of August, and the last parts written the first week of September, 2006)) drawings also drawn during the same periods.))